From the 20-22 January 2021, Dreweatts held a 3-day auction - and the first ever virtual house sale - selling the contents of the 17th century Grade I Palladian country house, Aynhoe Park in Oxfordshire, the celebrated family home of James and Sophie Perkins.
This unique and well-loved collection of artworks, sculpture, furniture, taxidermy, modern design and curiosities such as a triceratops skull drew publicity and interest from around the world with thousands of people taking part. The Live Online Auction (Day 1 & 2) was a white glove event with everything selling and, together with the Timed Online Auction (Day 3), the sale totalled £4.1 million.
Due to the ever-changing Covid-19 restrictions, Dreweatts had to take a flexible approach, offering creative and innovative solutions to promote and showcase the collection in its beautiful surroundings. We created a 360 Virtual Auction Tour of Aynhoe Park and over 10,000 people visited Aynhoe Park virtually from their computer, phone or laptop, moving through each room browsing and interacting with the lots as they went (take your virtual auction tour here). Alongside the virtual tour, we offered Remote Viewing via video calls to allow clients to conduct a more thorough inspection of the items, as well as the more traditional condition reports. Being able to offer these new and innovative elements allowed buyers to bid with confidence.
Dreweatts also hosted a Virtual Event, in collaboration with Savills; 'Restoration, Regulation, Re-invention: Creating a Country House for the 21st century'. On Saturday 16 January, clients tuned in to watch guest speakers Thomas Heatherwick and Ian Abell joined James and Sophie Perkins in conversation with Carole Annett. Here they discussed the challenges and opportunities in creating a country house for the 21st century and the importance of unique collaborations between the patron, the designer and the artist. Watch on demand here.
Interest in the auction had been building over the Christmas and New Year and by the time the auction day arrived, there were just shy of 3,000 people registered to bid online and telephone bids booked on 510 lots. With enthusiastic live bidding across four platforms from over 40 different countries, it was a quite a show with many bidders glued to their screens for dawn to dusk! Day 1 & 2 saw 461 of the 587 lots offered selling to online bidders (79% of the lots, representing 66% of the hammer total).
Commenting on the sale, Will Richards, Deputy Chairman of Dreweatts, said: “We are delighted with the result of this spectacular sale, which broke boundaries in so many ways. Dreweatts always approaches sales of private collections and house sales as creatively as possible and the current pandemic was no exception.
Having faced the first lockdown, we set to work to find a way that would offer clients the Aynhoe Park experience, without having to break lockdown rules to tour the house. We created a 360 degree virtual tour of the property with items for sale popping up as they were laid out in each room, with lot descriptions and estimates. This gave anyone interested in buying from the sale, a sense of having viewed the item in situ.
We worked closely with the Perkins to ensure the contents of Aynhoe were presented and represented in the way that they wanted them to be and in a way that celebrated the collection and its surroundings. We very much enjoyed the diversity of the sale, which allowed us to reach new and existing clients from around the globe.”
We have an exciting sales calendar planned throughout the year for House Sales and across all categories. If you would like more information, whether it be our jewellery, modern art or collection sales or anything else we would love to hear from you:
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